We use our habitual patterns to seal ourselves off and to build ourselves up

Overcoming Habitual Patterns
“The process of freeing yourself from arrogance and cutting off your habitual tendencies is a a very drastic measure, but it is necessary in order to help others in this world.

Arrogance comes from lack of gentleness, as we have discussed already. But beyond that, lack of gentleness comes from relying on habitual patterns of behavior. So habitual patterns are also an obstacle to invoking drala. By clinging to habitual behavior, we are cutting ourselves off from the warrior’s world. Habitual patterns are almost like reflexes: when we are shocked, we panic, and when we are attacked, we become defensive. On a more subtle level, we use habitual patterns to hide our self-consciousness. When we feel inadequate, we employ habitual responses to patch up our self-image: we invent excuses to shield our inadequacies from other people. Our standard emotional responses are often reflections of habitual patterns, as are mental fatigue, restlessness, irritation over something we don’t like, and many of our desires. We use our habitual patterns to seal ourselves off and to build ourselves up.

The Japanese have an interesting term, toranoko, which literally means “tiger cub.” It is a pejorative term. When you call someone a toranoko, you mean that he is a paper tiger, someone who appears brave but is actually a coward. That is the description of clinging to habitual patterns. You may make feeble attempts to expose your cowardice. Using eloquent language, you may make a confession, saying.”I know I’m not all that fearless,” but even your confession is still an expression of toranoko, a fat tiger cub who is afraid of his own shadow, afraid to jump and play with the other cubs. p. 121

[Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior]

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